The Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Wednesday, July 28, urged President Duterte to end state-sanctioned killings and uphold its international human rights obligations.
HRW Senior Researcher Carlos H. Conde called out Duterte for “touting his accomplishments in the brutal war on drugs” during his sixth and last State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.
On July 24, the Philippines and the United Nations formally launched the UN Joint Program on Human Rights.
The signing of the agreement came a month after Prosecutor Fatour Bensouda of the International Criminal Court (ICC) asked the tribunal to open an investigation into the alleged crimes against humanity during the drug war from 2016 to 2019.
“By doubling down on his murderous policy, he is revealing his government’s lack of commitment to the UN program his government just announced,” Conde said.
“The true test of the administration’s sincerity will be its willingness to end state-sanctioned killings and uphold its international human rights obligations,” he added.
Conde said the Philippine government can start by “supporting genuine accountability” and by cooperating with the ICC investigation.
During his last SONA, Duterte defended the war on drugs campaign, saying it had brought down crime and improved peace and order.
According to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, there have been at least 8,663 drug-related deaths since the start of the anti-drug campaign.
However, human rights groups says the drug war death toll could be as high as 20,000 to 30,000 if extrajudicial killings are included.